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Патент USA US3095828

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July 2, 1963
N. F. BROWN ETAL
Q
3,095,819
FREE PISTON PUMPING SYSTEM
Filed Dec. 2, 1959
5 Sheets-Sheet 1
A/arman F. Brown
CV/f/b/d M Pe t‘ers
ATTOR/Vf VJ
July 2, 1963
N.'F. BROWN ETAL
3,095,819
FREE PISTON PUMPING SYSTEM
Filed Dec. 2, 1959
5 Sheets-Sheet 2
Norma/7 F. Brown
(‘bf/ore’ M ?e z‘el's
July 2, 1963
N. F. BROWN ETAL
3,095,819
FREE PISTON PUMPING SYSTEM
Filed Dec. 2, 1959
5 Sheets-Sheet 3
f%.4
59
J4
I
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ATTORNEYJ
July 2, 1963
N. F. BROWN ETAL.
3,095,819
FREE PISTON PUMPING SYSTEM
Filed Dec. 2, 1959
5 Sheets-Sheet 4
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BY
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July 2, 1963
N. F. BROWN ETAL
FREE PISTON’ PUMPING SYSTEM
3,095,819
Filed Dec. 2, 1959
5 Sheets-Sheet 5
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. Norma/7 F. Brown
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Patented July 2, 1363
1
2
3,995,819
PETUN PUWENG SYSTEM
Norman F. Brown and Clifford M. Peters, Longview,
Tern, assionors to US. Industries, The, New York, N.Y
Filed Dec. 2, 1959, Ser. No. 856,318
12 Qlnims. (Cl. 103—52)
This invention is an improved free piston pumping sys
tem for raising oil or other liquid from wells by pressure
of a gas.
other object is to provide a modi?cation particularly use
ful in pumping wells in which pressure or resistance to
travel of a free piston are su?iciently variable to make
the time of travel of a free piston from a production
zone to a wellhead erratic. Another object is to pro
vide a free piston pumping system in which a valve in
an outlet is operated in response to the presence of the
piston in a lubricator.
Other objects, advantages and features of this inven
In one aspect it relates to an entire improved 10
tion will be apparent to one skilled in the art upon con
free piston‘ pumping system. In another aspect it con
templates an improved control for such pumping actuated
sideration of the written speci?cation, the attached claims
and the annexed drawings.
by presence of a free piston in a lubricator, and in
In this invention a simple and dependable mechanical
another aspect it relates to an improved release for a
free piston. In another aspect it relates to an improved 15 system is provided for releasing a catcher and operating
a valve in an outlet line substantially simultaneously.
pneumatic control system for a free piston pumping cycle.
In its preferred form a [lubricator having a section made
Free piston pumping apparatus has been‘ used in the
petroleum industry for many years. In such installations
a free piston is propelled by gas pressure through a string
of non-magnetic material, preferably stainless steel, is
section of pipe and associated ?ttings, commonly called
mitting reciprocating travel of the free piston in the line
superimposed on a wellhead. A production line extends
of production tubing from a production zone to a well 20 down from the wellhead into a production zone and has
a bore in common with that of the lubricator, thus per
head, pushing a load of liquid ahead of it. An upright
from the production zone to the non-magnetic section of
a lubricator, having a bore in‘ common with that of the
the lubricator. The free piston used contains magnetic
production tube, extends above a wellhead and has one
material and preferably is made of steel. An outlet line
or more outlets for ?uid communicating with it.
25
for ?uids pumped communicates with the bore of the
The free piston has an axial opening through it and a
lubricator. For wells producing ‘both oil and gas this line
valve suitably arranged for opening and closing this open
preferably is branched, having one branch communicat
ing. This valve usumly is operated by contact with a
ing with the lubricator above the point of maximum
suitable bumper at the top of the lubricator and a bumper
supported near the lower end of the production tubing, 30 ravel of the free piston and the other branch commu
nicating with the lubricator below the free piston‘ at its
although pressure differential devices for operating such
upper limit of travel. An adjustable choke preferably
valves also are used. When this valve is open, permit
is disposed in the outlet line or in its upper branch to
ting free passage of gas or liquid through the free piston,
prevent arrival of the piston at too high velocity.
the piston falls in the well until it arrives at the produc
Alternatively, the outlet line may lead from the well
tion zone and the valve is closed, shutting off the passage 35
head, but in any ‘case it leads from the common bore of
through the piston.
the lubricator and production line.
Gas pressure, which may be pressure from gas intro
A normally retracted movable magnet is disposed at
duced into the well for this purpose, or pressure from gas
the side of the non-magnetic section of the lubricator in
produced from the production formation or both, then
forces the piston up the production tubing pushing its 40 position to be moved toward the lubricator by attraction
to the free piston when the piston is in the lubricator.
load of liquid ahead of it.
Movement of this magnet toward the lubricator opens a
In low production wells it is customary to delay the
leed valve releasing pressure from a common line sup
time between reciprocating strokes of the piston to permit
plying pneumatic pressure both to a pressure responsive
accumulation of ?uid in the bottom of the well. Such
delay between piston strokes in high producing Wells also 45 means for releasing spring pressure on the catcher and to
one side of a diaphragm operating a valve opening and
may ‘be necessary in order to meet requirements of regu
lations concerning production quotas.
closing the outlet line. Substantially simultaneous opera
by suitable timing devices, thus making operation auto
with a supply of gas under pressure.
tion of the valve and catcher in response to presence of
A catcher is often provided in the lubricator section
the piston in the lubricator are thus obtained. Pressure
for the purpose of holding the piston at the top of the
well for any ‘desired ‘length of time. Such catchers have 50 in the common line joining the pressure operated valve
and the pneumatic pressure actuated means opposing
been mechanically, pneumatically or solenoid operated
spring pressure on the catcher is restored by action of
and comprise a latch adapted to ?t into suitable receiving
a pilot valve controlled by a timer, and communicating
spaces in the free piston. Catchers have been controlled
matic.
Difficulties often are encountered in maintaining 55
suitable pressure tight packing around moving parts of
catchers. Complicated electrical controllers difficult to
maintain‘ under oil production conditions have been used
for determining the length of time between strokes of
the piston.
It is an object of this invention to provide an improved
free piston pumping system in which the above dif?cul
ties are eliminated. Another object is to provide an im
proved free piston, lubricator and catcher assembly in
p
In a preferred modi?cation the valve in the outlet line
is a triple position valve. Suitable pneumatic relays, or
shuttle valves, for switching gas pressure are provided,
and function as means to maintain correlation between
the positions assumed by this valve and the operation
60 of the catcher, as will appear more clearly from the de
tailed description set out below.
In another modi?cation, particularly useful in pumping
wells whose pressure and resistance to travel of a free
piston are su?iciently variable as to make the time of
An 65 travel of a free piston to the wellhead erratic, the mag
netically opened bleed valve releases pressure from one
side of a diaphragm in a valve motor closing the valve
in the outlet line. A catcher may or may not be used,
depending on the pumping cycle desired.
ject is to provide a modi?cation applicable to wells pro
In the drawings, wherein like reference characters are
ducing both oil and gas in which oil and gas are auto 70
which seals around moving parts are eliminated.
other object is to provide an improved simple, cheap,
mechanical controller for the system eliminating dif?cul
ties in maintaining electrical systems. Still another ob
matically separated and passed to separate lines. An
used throughout to designate like parts:
FIG. 1 illustrates a free piston pumping system in
3,095,819
3
which a pneumatic pressure responsive piston disposed to
oppose and release spring pressure on the catcher and a
pressure actuated motor valve in an outlet line from the
lubricator are operated from a common line applying
pneumatic pressure on the piston and the valve. The
application vand release of pressure is time controlled.
FIG. 2 shows an application of the magnetic pressure
release of the invention applied to a free piston pumping
system having a manually operated catcher.
FIG. 3 is a detail of a preferred magnetic release valve.
FIGS. 4, 5 and 6 show different phases of cycle in one
preferred free piston pumping system applicable to wells
producing commercial quantities of gas and large quanti
ties of liquid which may be either water or oil.
FIG. 4 shows the cooperation of parts during that part
of the pumping cycle in which gas is produced from the
well with the free'piston‘ held stationary in the lubricator
and gas is delivered to a gas outlet line.
. FIG. 5 shows the apparatus of FIG. 4 with the well
,
'
.
"
4
.
of a conventional timer controlled pilot valve designated
generally as 34.
This valve contains a valve closure member 39 adapted
to seat upon an inlet 36 from a supply line 37 and so
shut oif entrance of gas supplied under pressure via line
37 from a source of supply (not shown). Member 36) is
equipped with a pin 38 loosely ?tting in an opening 39
communicating with the atmosphere. The upper end of
' member 30 is shaped to seat upon and close opening 39
in the upper part of the valve body.
A pivoted weight bar 41 is disposed to rest upon the
upper end of pin 38.
Bar 41 carries an adjustable saw
tooth cam 42. A timer, preferably driven by mechanical
clock work, having a face plate 43 carrying pins 44 dis
posed to strike cam 42 and raise weight bar 41 is provided.
Normally weight bar 41 rests upon pin 38 of valve 34
forcing valve closure member 33 to seat upon inlet 36
_ from a gas supply line and venting line 23 to the at
mosphere by way of opening 39 around pin 38. Pneu
in shut-in position with the catcher in retracted position 20 matic pressure. is thus relieved through line 28 from the
upper side ‘of diaphragm 35 and from piston 27. Spring
and the piston dropped from the lubricator.
45 then holds the valve 134 open, allowing gas from the
FIG. 6 shows the catcher with spring pressure released,
Well to ?ow through line 29 and branch 32. Spring
the piston returning from the bottom of the well and
the valve in the outlet line in position to deliver liquid to ' pressure from spring 26 forces ball 25 forward to engage
25 free piston 19 on arrival and hold it stationary in the
a liquid outlet line.
lubricator.
FIG. 1 shows a conventional wellhead designated by
When the timer comes on time a pin 44 strikes the saw
the numeral 10. The wellhead contains a gate valve 11.
tooth cam 42 thus raising weigh-t bar 41. Pressure of
A line of production tubing 12 extends down from the
supply gas then lifts valve member 30 from its seat on
Wellhead to a producing zone. In the producing zone a
bumper 13 is disposed within the production line in posi 30 inlet 36, closes ‘the opening 39 and permits the supply gas
tion to contact the bottom of a free piston 19 at its lower
limit of travel. Usually the production line is concentric
to ?ow around the member 33‘ into line 28, thus introduc
ing pneumatic pressure into the spaces above diaphragm
3S and behind piston 27 in the catcher. Valve 134 then
is closed interrupting the ?ow of gas from the well and
is necessary to introduce gas under pressure to operate a 35 the catcher is released. The Weight of piston 19 forces
ball 25 back out of engagement with the piston 19 and
free piston the gas is introduced by one or more lines 16
the piston falls to the production zone in the well where
into the annular space 15 thus applying pressure be
it encounters bumper 13.
neath the free piston in the bore of the production tube 12.
The time of contact of cam 42 with pin 44 is such that
An upright lubricator section comprising a pipe and
with casing 14 as illustrated, leaving an annular space
15 between the production line and casing 14. When it
suitable ?ttings designated generally as 17 is superim 40 pressure is applied to diaphragm 35, closing valve 134, for
posed upon the wellhead. This lubricator has a bore 18
common to that of the production line. A free piston 19
a period suf?cient for the free piston to fall into the pro
duction zone. In the production zone the free piston
strikes bumper 13 closing valve 22 and the timer moves so
is disposed within bore 18 for free travel therein from
that cam 4.2 falls ‘behind pin 44 thus permitting weight bar
bumper 13 in the production zone to bumper 23 in an
45 41 again to depress pin 38 closing the inlet for gas sup
upper part of the lubricator.
plied under pressure in valve 34 and venting line 28 to
_ Piston 19 has a suitable number of guide rings 21,
the atmosphere. Valve 34 is thus opened and spring
spaced from each other and has a valve 22 adapted to be
pressure applied to ‘ball 25 in the catcher. The free
closed by contact with bumper 13.
piston rises forcing its load of liquid ahead of it. When
A second bumper 23 is located in an upper part of the
50 the free piston arrives in the lubricator it is caught and
lubricatorand functions to open valve 22 by contact with
held stationary by a ball 25 and the cycle of operations
is repeated.
.
A catcher, designated generally as 24 is disposed at the
FIG. 2 illustrates a modi?cation of the apparatus par
side of lubricator 17. In the preferred form illustrated,
this catcher comprises a ball 25 actuated by pressure 55 ticularly useful in wells of such varying pressure as to
make cycle control of the tree piston by a timer undesir—
from a spring 26, disposed to move ball 25 far enough
able.
into the lubricator bore to engage ‘a space between rings
A lubricator designated generally as 51 is shown super
on piston 19 and so hold the piston stationary in the
imposed upon a wellhead having a gate valve 11 there
lubricator. Pneumatic pressure responsive means for re—
in. A production line 12 extends down from the well
leasing spring pressure on ball 25 is illustrated as a piston
a suitable valve rod 40.
27, operated by pneumatic pressure applied through
line 28.
An outlet 29, having two branches 31 and 32 leads
from lubricator 17. The upper branch 31 communicates
60 head to a production zone and has a bore in common
with that of lubricator 51. A free piston 19 is disposed
to travel freely in the bore of production line 12 and
lubricator 51. A manually operable catcher designated
generally as 52 is attached to lubricator 51. Although a
with the lubricator bore at a point above that reached 65 manually operated catcher is shown, its portrayal is not
by the piston at the upper end of its stroke. Branch 31
intended to exclude the use of a catcher of the type desig
is equipped with an adjustable choke 33 to prevent arrival
nated generally ‘as 24 in FIG. 1 or other type catcher,
of the piston at too high velocity.
I
since manually operated catchers are used only when the
A pneumatic pressure responsive valve 134 is disposed
Well is to be shut down- or when long delay between
to open ‘and close line 29 at a point downstream from the 70 pumping cycles is desired. The lubricator has a section
junction of branches 31 and 32. Line 28 communicates
53 of non-magnetic material, preferably of stainless steel.
with a space above diaphragm 35 in the motor valve
An outlet line 29 communicates with the bore of the lubri
cator through an upper line 54 having a manually operable
opening and closing line 29.
choke 33 therein.
'
Pressure is applied and released upon diaphragm 35
and piston 27 simultaneously through line 28 by action 75 _ A movable magnet 55 is disposed at the side of the
5
3,095,819
non-magnetic section of the lubricator 53 in position to
be attracted to and move toward piston 19 when 1t 15
in the lubricator. Piston 1? is made of magnetic ‘mate
rial, preferably of steel. Magnet 55 is carried on a pivoted
bar 56. Movement of bar 56 toward the lubricator opens
a bleed valve designated generally as 57 and shown-1n
detail in FIG. 3 in a preferred form. A timer having
6
at a point [above the upper limit of travel of piston 19
and the lower branch 75 communicates with the interior
of the lubricator at a point beneath the position occupied
by the piston when held by the catcher. A three posi
tion pneumatically responsive motor valve designated gen
erally as 76 is disposed to close line 29’ or to pass ?uid
from line 29 to a line 168, or line 77, according to the
position of the valve. Two pneumatic relays, or shuttle
valves, designated generally as 78 ‘and '79‘, are provided
scribed under FIG. 1 above.
'
10 to correlate action of valve 76 and catcher 24.
A pilot valve 34 identical to that described 1n FiG. l
FIG. 4 shows the system in position for production
is operated by weight bar 41. A line 58 ‘communicates
of gas. Free piston 19 is held in lubricator 51 by en
with the interior of the valve body 34 and contains a
gagement with ball 25 which is forced into engagement
check valve 59 which prevents back ?ow of gas under
by spring ‘26. Magnet 65 is attracted by piston 19 and
pressure in the direction of valve 34. Line‘58 ‘com 15 has moved toward the lubricator, drawing with it pivoted
municates with the space above diaphragm in motor
bar 66, carrying valve closure member 71 thus opening
valve 61 which operates a valve closure member 62 by
release valve 73. Pressure has been vented to the at
a suitable valve stem. The space above the diaphragm in
mosphere from line 81, communicating with the space
motor valve 61 also communicates with line 63 leading to
behind piston 27 in catcher 24» and with line 32 leading
the bleed valve 57 operated by magnet 55.
.
20 to valve 73.
This ‘arrangement is particularly desirable for use with
Line 82 also communicates with a space behind piston
wells whose pressure characteristics vary so much that
83 in relay 78 via line 8d. Pneumatic pressure on piston
the time for return of the ‘free piston cannot be accurately
83 has thus been released, permitting pressure from
determined. Check valve 59, line 63 and bleed valve 57
cooperate to maintain pressure on the diaphragm in 25 spring 85 to shift piston 83. Relay 78 comprises a shaft
86 carrying sealing members 87 arranged for reciprocat
motor valve 61 to keep valve 62 open until the free piston
ing movement in a cylinder v$8 and attached to piston 83.
returns to the lubricator. The presence of the free piston
Movement of piston 83 ‘admits gas under pressure from
thus is necessary to permit valve 62 to close by releasing
supply
line via lines 89, dd and 91 to the upper side of
pressure through bleed valve 57 . The system can be made
diaphragm 92 in a valve motor designated generally
completely automatic and self-regulatory by replacmg the 30 as
93.
manual catcher 52 with a catcher illustrated in FIG. 1
Line
91 also communicates via line $4 with a space in
as is shown in the descriptions of FIGS. 4, 5 and 6 below.
relay 79 and pressure is applied to piston 9'5 compressing
In the preferred type of magnetic pressure release valve,
spring 96, and moving shaft 97 carrying sealing members
shown in FIG. 3, a permanent magnet 65, preferably of
horse shoe shape, is attached to a pivoted bar 66. Bar 66 35 87 into position to vent pressure from the underside of
diaphragm 92 via line §‘8 and vent 99‘. Diaphragm 92.
turns on a shaft 67 and the magnet is normally retracted
springs down to the full extent of its travel. Valve stem
from the non-magnetic section of the lubricator by pres
101 is actuated by movement of diaphragm
Valve
sure of spring 63. Bar 66 carries a valve closure member
stem 101 carries a ?anged shoe 102. Two annular valve
71 in position to seat upon and close a bleed ori?ce 72
connecting with line 63. In normal position pressure is 40 closure members 103‘ and 164 ?t and slide upon shoe ‘1612.
A spring 105 is arranged to exert pressure on closure
sealed within line 63 and is released only when magnet
members 108' and 104 tending to force them apart.
65 is attracted toward the free piston when the piston is
At the position of maximum travel of valve stem 1191
in the lubricator. The forward movement of magnet 65
downward, valve closure member 104 is seated on valve
opens the bleed passage 72, as shown in the ‘drawing,
permitting pressure to be bled from above the diaphragm 45 seat 166 thus closing oii line 77. Closure member 103
a time wheel 43 carrying pins 44 is disposed to raise a
weight bar 41 by contact with a saw tooth cam 42 as de
in motor valve 61.
FIGS. 4, 5 and 6 illustrate a modi?cation of the sys
is forced downward by ?ange 107, compressing spring
generally as 51 is shown. Lubricator 51 has a section 53
or use as desired.
105 and permitting ?ow from line 29‘ into line 168.
In this position the well is free to produce gas via bore
tem which is particularly advantageous for use with wells
18, lower branch 75 of the outlet line 29‘, valve 76 and
producing commerical quantities of gas and large quan
tities of liquid. In these ?gures a lubricator designated 50 line 1113. The latter line conducts gas to sales, storage
This part of the production cycle continues for a period
controlled by the ‘timer. After a predetermined time se
lected by spacing of pins 44 on the time wheel 43, a pin
the common bore 18 of lubricator 51 and a line of pro 55 44 reaches cam 42 and lifts weight bar 41 as shown in
FIG. 5. Gas under pressure enters from supply line 89
duction tubing (not shown). A catcher designated gen
via line 1199 and pilot valve 34 into line 82. Lines 89,
erally as 24 of the type shown in FIG. 1 is disposed at a
109 and ‘82 have inside diameters larger than bleed valve
side of the non-magnetic section of the lubricator. This
73. Pressure of gas entering through line 81 builds up
catcher comprises a ball 25 adapted to be pressed forward
in response to pressure from spring 26 into the lubricator 60 in catcher 24 forcing piston 27 back and relieving spring
pressure on ball 25. The free piston then ‘drops out of
bore far enough to engage a space between rings 21 on
lubricator 51, ‘and bleed valve 73 closes in response to
piston 19 and thus hold the piston stationary in the lubrica
pressure from spring 68.
tor. A pneumatic pressure responsive piston 27 is dis
posed :to oppose and release spring pressure actuating ball
At the same time gas under pressure enters relay 78
25. A movable magnet 65 is disposed at a side of the 65 from line 82 via line 84- and forces piston 83 back, corn
non-magnetic section of the lubricator in position to be
pressing spring 85 and releasing pressure on the upper
attracted by and moved toward piston 19 when the piston
side of diaphragm 93 through line 11 and vent 1111.
is in the lubricator. Magnet 65 is attached to a pivoted
Pressure on piston 9'5 in relay 79 also is released through
bar 66 carrying a valve closure member 71. A bleed
vent 111, but pressure from line ‘82 is simultaneously ap
valve designated generally as 73 is normally closed by 70 plied to piston 112 at the other end of relay 7? and the
valve closure member 71 in response to pressure from
relay does not change position. That part of the valve
spring 68 when the piston is not in the lubricator.
motor 93 below diaphragm 92 continues to be vented to
An outlet line 29 has upper and lower branches 74
the atmosphere through line 93 and vent 59.
made of non-magnetic material, preferably stainless steel.
A free piston 19 containing magnetic material and pref
erably made of steel is disposed to reciprocate '?reely in
and 75, respectively, communicating with the bore of the
lubricator. Branch 74 communicates with the lubricator 75 With no pressure ‘above or below the diaphragm the
valve motor assumes an intermediate position, moving
3,095,819
7
8
sure on the catcher to move it to release the free piston;
valve stem dill with it.’ ‘In this intermediate position
an outlet line leading from the bore; a pneumatic pres
sure responsive valve disposed ‘to open and close the out
let line; a normally retracted movable magnet disposed
at a side of the non-magnetic section of the lubricator
in position to be moved by attraction toward the free
piston when the piston is in the lubricator; and means,
comprising a valve actuated by movement of the magnet,
valve closure member 1104 remains seated on seat 1%
closing oif line 77. Valve closure member 1% is forced
upward by spring 1&5 to close off line M8.
The Well is shut in so long as valve 76 remains in this
position. A period of time long enough to permit the
free piston to reach the bumper in the production zone is
predetermined by the operating width of saw tooth cam
42. This cam preferably is adjustable, as shown in FIG.
for bleeding pneumatic pressure from the pneumatic pres
1, to permit setting for any time required to permit the 10 sure responsive means for releasing the catcher to move
to free piston catching position and from the pneumatic
piston to reach the production zone.
pressure
responsive valve.
'
After su?icient time to permit the free piston to reach
2. A free piston pumping system comprising in a
the bottom bumper the cam 42drops oft pin 44, as shown
combination a wellhead; a lubricator having a section
in FIG. v6. Weight bar 41 closes pilot valve 34 against
gas entering from supply line 89 and relieves pressure on 15 made of non-magnetic material superimposed on the
wellhead; ‘a production line having a bore common to
piston 1-12 in relay 79 through vent 39‘ in pilot valve 34
that of the lubricator extending down to a producing zone;
and the part of line 82 between check valve 59 and re
lay 79‘.
Relief of pressure on piston 112 permits spring 96 to
operate the relay 79, connecting gas supply line 89‘ with
20
a free piston containing magnetic material disposed to
travel within the bore; a spring actuated catcher disposed
to catch and retain the piston in the lubricator; pneu
matic pressure responsive means for overcoming spring
line 98, thus applying pressure to the underside of dia
pressure on the catcher to move it to release the free
phragm 92. Pressure in line 82 downstream of check
piston; an outlet line leading from the bore; a pneumatic
valve 59 is maintained by check valve 59 and the seated
pressure responsive valve disposed to open and close the
position of valve closure member 71 on relief valve 73,
maintaining ‘relay 78 in position to vent pressure from 25 outlet line; and means, comprising a magnetically oper
able valve responsive to the presence of the free piston
the upper side of diaphragm 92 via line 91 and vent 111,
in the lubricator, for bleeding pneumatic pressure from
‘and maintaining pressure on piston 27 compressing
the pneumatic pressure responsive means so as to release
spring 26.
the catcher for movement to free piston catching position
Diaphragm 92 is moved to its upper limit of travel
by pressure on its lower side and carries valve stem 1M 30 and from the pneumatic pressure responsive valve.
3. A free piston pumping system comprising in a com
with it. Valve closure member 163 remains in position
bination a wellhead; a lubricator superimposed on the
to close off line 168 and valve closure member 194 is
wellhead; a production line having a bore common to that
drawn upward off seat “166 compressing spring 1135 and
of the lubricator extending down to a producing zone; a
opening line 77 to flow of ?uid from line 29.
A free piston =19 comes up bore 18 pushing a load of 35 free piston disposed to travel within the bore; a catcher
disposed to catch and retain the piston in the lubricator
liquid ahead of it. The liquid ?ows through the lower
and ‘biased to a piston catching position; pneumatic pres
branch 75 until this branch is obstructed by the piston;
sure responsive means for overcoming the bias on the
liquid then ?ows through the upper branch 74, line 29
and valve 76 into line 77, until the piston reaches its 40 catcher to move it to piston releasing position; an outlet
line leading from the bore; a pneumatic pressure re
upper limit of travel.
sponsive valve disposed to open and close the outlet line;
When piston 19 arrives in a position opposite magnet
means, comprising a valve operable responsive to the
65 the magnet is attracted to the piston and moves the
presence of the free piston in the lubricator, for bleeding
pivoted bar ‘66, carrying valve closure member 71, to
pneumatic pressure from the pneumatic pressure repon
ward the lubricator, opening relief valve 73. Pneumatic
pressure on piston '27 in the catcher is released via lines 45 sive means to permit the catcher to move to piston catch
' ing position and from the pneumatic pressure responsive
81 and 82 and valve 73, pressure from spring 26 moves
ball 25 forward, and the piston is caught and held.
Pressure in line 82 and on piston 83 in relay 78 is
released through relief valve 73 and the cycle of opera
tions described above under FIGS. 4, 5 and 6 is repeated.
From the foregoing it will be seen that this invention
is one well adapted to attain all of the ends and objects
hereinabove set forth, together with'other advantages
which are obvious and which are inherent to the ap
paratus.
It will be understood that certain features and sub
com‘binations are of utility and may be employed without
reference to other features and subcombinations. This
is contemplated ‘by and is within the scope of the claims.
' As many possible embodiments may be made of the
invention without departing from the scope thereof, it
is to be understood that all matter herein set forth or
shown in the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted
as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
.
The invention having been described, what is claimed
is:
l. A free piston pumping system comprising in a com
bination a wellhead; a lubricator having a section made
of non-magnetic material superimposed on the wellhead;
valve; and means, comprising a timer controller pilot
valve, for applying pneumatic pressure to the pneumatic
pressure responsive means to overcome the bias on the
catcher and to the pressure responsive valve.
4. A free piston pumping system comprising in combi
nation a wellhead; a lubricator having a section made of
non-magnetic material superimposed on the wellhead;
a production line having a bore common to that of the
55 lubricator extending down to a production zone; a free
piston containing magnetic material disposed to travel
within the bore; a spring actuated catcher disposed to
catch and retain the free piston in the lubricator; pneu
matic pressure responsive means for releasing spring pres
sure from the catcher; a normally retracted movable
magnet disposed at a side of the non-magnetic section of
the lubricator in position to be moved toward the lubrica
tor by attraction to the free piston when the piston is in
the lubricator; a valve actuated by movement of the mag
65 net; an outlet line leading from the lubricator bore; a
three position pressure responsive motor valve, having
one inlet and two outlets, having its inlet connected to a
downstream end of said outlet line; a timer controlled
two-way pilot valve having an inlet, ‘an outlet and a vent
to the atmosphere; two pneumatic relays, namely, a ?rst
relay and a second relay, each having a passage there
piston containing ‘magnetic material disposed to travel
through-and a vent adapted to be opened and closed by
within the bore; a spring actuated catcher disposed to
shifting of the relay, said ?rst relay, having one pressure
catch and retain the piston in the lubricator; pneumatic
responsive
means for shifting the relay and said second
pressure responsive means for overcoming spring pres 75
a production line having a bore common to that of the
lubricator extending down to a producing zone; a free
9
3,095,819
having two opposed pressure responsive means for shift
ing the relay; a supply line for gas under pressure con
19
means for releasing the catcher with the pressure-respon
sive valve; means for bleeding pressure from the common
line including a magnet arranged for movement toward
inlet of said two-way pilot valve; a line communicating
the lubricator in response to attraction of the free piston
With the supply line for gas under pressure through a 5.3 when the free piston is in said lubricator section; and a
passage in said ?rst relay, when the passage is open, with
valve actuated by movement of the magnet.
a ?rst side of the pressure responsive motor valve and
7. A well pumping system comprising in combination
with the ?rst of the two opposed pressure responsive
a Wellhead; a lubricator having a section made of non
means for moving the second relay and with a vent in
magnetic material superimposed on the wellhead; a pro
said ?rst relay when said ?rst relay is shifted; a line con 16 duction line having a bore common to that of the lubrica
necting to the outlet of said two-way pilot valve and
tor extending down from the wellhead to a producing
communicating with the second of the two opposed pres
zone; a free piston containing magnetic material disposed
sure responsive means for moving the second relay, with
for reciprocating travel within the bore; a catcher dis
nected with a passage in each of said relays‘and with the
the pneumatic pressure responsive means ‘for moving said
?rst relay, with said pneumatic pressure responsive means
for releasing spring pressure from the catcher and with
said valve actuated by movement of the magnet; a check
valve disposed in said last mentioned line to release pres
sure only on the second of the pneumatic pressure means
for moving the second relay when the two-way pilot valve
is vented to the atmosphere; and a line connecting the
second side of the three position pressure responsive
motor valve with said second relay communicating with
said supply line for gas under pressure When the passage
through the said second relay is open, and vented to the
atmosphere by movement of the second relay.
5. A controller for a free piston pumping system com
prising in combination a timer; a two-way pilot valve
having an inlet, an outlet, and a vent to the atmosphere
posed to catch and retain the piston in the lubricator;
pneumatic pressure-responsive means for moving the
catcher to free piston-releasing position; means for operat
ing said pneumatic pressure-responsive means to move the
catcher to free-piston-releasing position including a mag
net disposed adjacent to said non-magnetic section of the
lubricator movable toward the lubricator in response to
presence of the free piston in said non-magnetic section;
and a valve operable ‘by movement of said magnet.
8. A free piston pumping system comprising in combi
nation a 'wellhead; a lubricator having a section made of
' non-magnetic material superimposed upon the wellhead;
a production line having a bore common to that of the
lubricator extending down to a production zone; a free
piston containing magnetic material disposed for recipro
cating travel within the bore in a pumping cycle compris
controlled by the timer; two pneumatic relays, namely a 30 ing three periods, namely, a period of travel down to the
?rst relay and a second relay, each having a passage there
through and a vent to the atmosphere adapted to ‘be
opened and closed by shifting the relay, said ?rst relay
having one pressure responsive means 'for shifting the
relay and the second relay having two pressure responsive
means for shifting said second relay; a supply line for
gas under pressure connected with a passage in each of
said relays and with the inlet of said two-Way pilot valve;
a ?rst line adapted to be connected to a ?rst side of a
pressure responsive motor valve and being connected
with the ?rst of the two pressure responsive means for
moving the second relay, said ?rst line also communicat
ing with the supply line for gas under pressure through
production Zone, a period of travel upward to the lubri
cator and a stationary period within the lubricator; an
outlet line leading from the lubricator; a three-position
pressure-responsive valve ‘having an inlet port connected
to said outlet line and ?rst and second outlet ports; ?rst
and second product lines connected to said ?rst and second
outlet ports, respectively; and means comprising a timer
controlled pilot valve, a magnetically operable valve re
sponsive to the presence of the free piston in the lubricator
and pneumatic relay-s for causing the pressure-responsive
valve to close the outlet line during the period of piston
travel down to the production zone, to open the outlet
line to the ?rst product line during upward travel of the
a passage in said ?rst relay when the passage is open, and
piston and to open the outlet line to the second product
vented to the atmosphere when said ?rst relay is shifted; 45 line upon arrival of the piston in the lubricator.
a second line connected to the outlet of said two-way pilot
9. A free piston pumping system comprising in combi
valve communicating with the second of the two op
nation a Wellhead; a lubricator having a section made of
posed pressure responsive means for moving the second
non-magnetic material superimposed on the wellhead; a
relay, with pneumatic pressure responsive means for mov
production line having a bore common to that of the
ing said ?rst relay and with a magnetically operable re 50 lubricator extending down to a production zone; a free
lief valve, responsive to presence of a free piston, adapted
piston containing magnetic material disposed to travel
to release pressure from the line; a check valve disposed
within the bore in a pumping cycle comprising three
in said last mentioned line to release pressure only on
periods, namely, a period of travel down to the production
the second of the two pneumatic pressure means ‘for shift
zone, a period of travel upward to the lubricator and a
ing the second relay when the two-way pilot valve is 55 stationary period Within the lubricator; an outlet line
vented to the atmosphere; and a third line adapted to
leading from the lubricator; ?rst and second product lines;
connect a second side of a pressure actuated valve motor
a three-position pressure-responsive valve having an inlet
With the second relay and ‘communicating with said sup
connected to said outlet line and ?rst ‘and second outlet
ply line for gas under pressure when the passage through
ports connected respectively to said ?rst and second prod
said second relay is open, and vented to the atmosphere ' uct lines, said valve having a position closing the outlet
when the second relay is shifted.
line, a position directing ?ow from the outlet line into
the ?rst product line and a position directing flow from
6. A free piston pumping system comprising in combi
the outlet line into the second product line; and means
nation a wellhead; a lubricator having a section made of
non-magnetic material superimposed on the Wellhead; a 65 comprising a timer-controlled pilot valve, a magnetically
operable valve responsive to presence of the free piston
production line having a bore common to that of the
in the lubricator and pneumatic relays cooperable with
lubricator extending down from the Wellhead to a pro
the pilot valve and magnetically operable valve to operate
duction zone; a free piston disposed for reciprocating
the three-position valve to cause said three-position valve
travel within the bore; a catcher disposed to catch and
retain the free piston in the lubricator; pneumatic pres 70 to close the outlet line during down travel of the piston,
to open the outlet line to the ?rst product line during
sure-responsive means for releasing the catcher to per
upward travel of the piston and to open the outlet line to
mit the free piston to fall ‘from the lubricator; an outlet
the second product line during said stationary period.
line communicating with the bore; a pneumatic pressure
10. A free piston pumping system comprising in combi
responsive valve disposed to open and close the outlet
nation a wellhead; a lubricator having a section made of
line; a common pneumatic pressure line connecting the 75 non-magnetic
material superimposed ‘on the Wellhead; a
3,095,819
11
12
production line having a bore common to that of the
into the second line; a check valve disposed in said second
lubricator vextending down to a production zone; a free
pneumatic pressure-responsive means for shifting the
piston containing magnetic material disposed for recipro
eating travel within the bore in a pumping cycle compris
ing three periods, namely, a period of travel down to the
production zone, a period of travel upward to the lubrié
cator and a stationary period within, the lubricator; an
outlet line leading from the lubricator; a three-position
pressure-responsive valve having an inlet connected to the
line to release pressure only on the second of the two
second relay when the two-way pilot valve is vented to
the atmosphere; and a third line adapted to be connected
to a second side of a pressure-actuated valve motor and
connected with a second relay and communicating with
said supply line for gas under pressure when the passage
through said second relay is open and vented to the at
outlet line and ?rst and second outlet ports; ‘a liquid 10 mosphere when the second relay is shifted.
12. A free piston pumping system comprising a pro
product line connected to the ?rst outlet port and a gas
duction line extending in a well down to a production
product line connected to the second outlet port; and
zone; a free piston adapted to travel up and down in
means comprising a timer-controlled pilot valve, a mag
the production line; an outlet line communicating with
netically operable valve responsive to the presence of the
free‘ piston in the'lubricator and pneumatic relays cooper 15 the production line; valve means controlling ?ow from
the outlet line and having ?rst and second outlet ports;
able with the pilot valve and magnetically operable valve
trigger means adjacent the upper end of the production
for positioning said three-position valve to maintain
line and adapted to send a signal responsive to arrival of
closure of’ the outlet line during travel of the free piston
the free piston at the upper end of the production line;
‘down to the production zone, to pass liquid from the out
and control means, operable to cause the valve means to
20
let line into the liquid product line during upward travel
close the outlet line while the free piston is moving down
of the free piston and to pass gas to the gas product line
in the production line, to open the outlet line to the ?rst
while the piston is stationary in the lubrioator.
outlet port during upward travel of the free piston and
11. ‘A controller for a free piston pumping system
then,
responsive to said signal to open the outlet line to
comprising in combination a timer; a two-way pilot valve
having an inlet, an outlet, and a vent to the atmosphere 25 the second outlet port upon arrival of the free piston at
the upper end of the production line, said control means
controlled by the timer; two pneumatic relays, namely, a
including a timer and a free piston catcher positioned to
?rst relay and a second relay, each having a passage there
catch and retain the free piston at the upper end of the
through and a vent to the atmosphere adapted to be
production line, said control means being connected to
opened and closed by shifting the relay, said ?rst relay
having one pressureresponsive means for shiftin g the relay 30 1the catcher so as .to cause the catcher to release the free
piston upon lapse of a predetermined time interval and to
and the second relay having two pressure-responsive means
cause the valve means to close the outlet line upon such
‘for shifting said second relay; a supply line for gas under
release of the free piston.
pressure connected with the passage in each of said relays
and with the inlet of said two-way pilot valve; a ?rst
References Cited in the ?le of this patent
line adapted to be connected to a ?rst side of a pressure
UNITED STATES PATENTS
responsive motor valve and connected with the first of
the two pressure-responsive means for moving the second
relay and said ?rst line also communicating with the sup
ply line for gas under pressure through a passage in said
?rst relay when the passage is open, and vented to the 40
atmosphere when said relay is shiited; a relief valve
adapted to release pressure from the line; a second line
connected lto the outlet of said two-way pilot valve com
municating with the second of the two pressure-responsive
means for moving the second relay, with pneumatic pres 415
sure-responsive means for moving said ?rst relay; a relief
valve adapted to release pressure from the line connected
2,001,552
Scott ________________ __ May 14, 1935
2,013,111
2,231,158
Scott ____‘ ____________ __ Sept. 3, 1935
Davis ________________ __ Feb. 11, 1941
2,310,562
2,575,086
2,699,121
Whittington ____________ __ Feb. 9, 1943
Atchison ____________ __ Nov. 13, 1951
Knox ________________ __ Jan. 11, 1955
' 2,714,855
2,762,309
Brown ________________ __ Aug. 9, 1955
Knox _____ -1- _________ __ Sept. 11, 1956
2,918,015
3,012,513
Knox ________________ __ Dec. 22, 1959
Knox ________________ __ Dec. 12, 1961
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